Those used to waking up to Saturday-morning cartoons on FOX will be disappointed come the new year. With the network and 4Kids ending their programming agreement in late December, FOX will be filling two full hours with infomercials each Saturday morning. While this is common practice on many cable outlets, it’s extremely rare for a major network, according to Daily Variety.
FOX and 4Kids are settling a legal issue pertaining to their long-running agreement, under which 4Kids bought $20 million worth of time on the network to broadcast such popular animated shows as The Spectacular Spider-Man, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo Get A Clue! and Tom and Jerry Tales, Chaotic and Viva Pi’ata. 4Kids also launched a block on The CW in October of 2007, and will continue to supply programming to the fairly new channel that rose from the ashes of The WB.
Dubbed ‘Weekend Marketplace’ the block of long-form commercials will air from 10 a.m. to noon each Saturday on 95% of FOX affiliates. Those affiliates will also get two hours to program themselves with the absence of cartoons. Since the children’s TV market has fallen on hard times, FOX has no alternative for packaged entertainment programming, especially one that will pay what 4Kids has been. That arrangement reportedly fell apart when 4Kids insisted that it was owed a $13 million refund, which FOX refused to pay.